Friday, July 23, 2021. Regis (Rege) Michael Kelly of Pittsburgh, PA passed away quietly, surrounded by the people that he treasured most. Rege was preceded in death by his mother Ann, sister Eileen, and his beloved father, Regis Allen Kelly. He leaves behind his best friend Sherry, daughters Alison and Kristin, sons-in-law Darren and Nathan, and four precious grandchildren, Harper, Hudson, Hayden, and Mina as well as many extended family members and dear friends. If you asked Rege what he would like to have had on his epithet he might have said “Homicide Detective,” but those of us who knew him best would choose “A Life Well Lived.”
If you had the pleasure of meeting Rege, perhaps he told you a story over an ice-cold beer or a glass of red wine at one of his favorite places: The Common Plea, Mitchells, Grant Street Tavern, The Carlton, Roland's, Conneaut Lake, Dewey Beach, or Sanibel Island. He may have told you about a father he looked up to, who he saw as a man of great character and kindness. Although he wouldn’t have used those traits to describe himself, they were also intrinsic to Rege. He may have told you stories about his run of Catholic schools, or an ill-fated Senior Dinner Dance with his high-school buddies that ended at a police station. Rege was deeply patriotic – he probably told you about volunteering to go to Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Air Force, only to spend the war in Mildenhall, England. Perhaps he talked about following his friend, Zane, around on New Year’s Eve because he had a crush on his date, Sherry, who later became his wife. Rege may have talked about his struggle to find his calling when he returned home from England even trying out life as a farrier, shoeing horses in Oklahoma. Maybe he told you about a couple of cats named Logan and Brisko. However, we are willing to bet that the stories that Rege shared most often came from his long and decorated career in law enforcement.
Rege took great pride in following in his father’s footsteps as a law enforcement officer, graduating from the Allegheny County Police Academy. He started as a patrolman and worked his way through investigations, finally landing in homicide with the Allegheny County Police Department. Over the course of his career he served as the voice of numerous victims. The job was more than just a paycheck as he felt very deeply for the lives that were lost and became a friend of victims’ loved ones throughout the years. It may surprise you to learn that he even kept a photo of one of his most tragic victims, a fifteen year-old girl who vanished from her bus stop 40 years ago, as a reminder that her killer was yet to be convicted. Rege retired from the ACPD to spend time with his ailing father and then joined the Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General as a Special Agent where he had the opportunity to work on a variety of cases, spending many years investigating child predators and retiring in 2018. While Rege made his mark in law enforcement he also enjoyed friendships with his past partners and colleagues. We know that there will be a detectives’ reunion in heaven when Rege can once again see the great friends who have gone before him.
To those he encountered, Rege was a “great guy,” fun, and charismatic. To his family he was a bright and shining light, a source of strength, laughter, and joy. To his wife, Sherry, he was a real pain in the butt and cherished friend, someone she could laugh and cry with, a father that her daughters adored. To his daughters he was an encourager who gave them the confidence to succeed, he was quick to tell them he loved them and make them feel beautiful, never shy about showing them emotion. To his sons-in-laws he was a friend and second father figure, inspiring them both to careers in law enforcement, a man who they enjoyed sharing a beer with. To his grandchildren he was Pop-Pop, a man that young Harper and Hudson will remember warmly and who Hayden and Mina will know through the many memories and stories that their parents will share.
Rege Kelly was a man of great worth. A life well lived might sound less exciting than homicide detective, but in truth, it is an amazing gift both for the man and those who loved him. He will be missed by his family every day and they will carry him with them, always.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Old St. Luke’s Church in Carnegie, PA on Friday, August 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM with a private wake to follow. The family welcomes you to share your personal memories of Rege on this remembrance page. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Center for Victims (https://www.centerforvictims.org/make-a-difference-today/) in memory of Rege Kelly.